Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - July - 2018 Issue

The Polar Regions and the Klondike from Aquila Books

C1a0738b-d1b5-4264-bb54-bf146c8bf89f

The Polar Regions and the Klondike.

Aquila Books has published a catalogue of Books and Ephemera Relating to All Aspects of the Polar Regions, as well as a Selection of Klondike Items. This makes for some cool reading on a hot July day. You will find works by many of the people whose names have become synonymous with polar exploration - Franklin, Scott, Nansen, Shackleton, Barrow, Amundsen, Ross, M'Clure, and Byrd. Others are less well-known, from missions not as famous or participants in travels headed by someone else. This is a great selection of material from the regions to the far north and far south, along with a substantial number of items related to a place not quite so far north - the Klondike and its gold rush. Here are a few selections from this recent catalogue.

 

To be the first to reach the South Pole was a great race, especially since the North Pole had been achieved only two years earlier. Englishman Robert Falcon Scott thought he could capture the honors, but Norwegian Roald Amundsen had other ideas. Better prepared and more knowledgeable on how to handle the extreme conditions, Amundsen raced to the South Pole in December 1911. About five weeks later, Scott arrived, only to be greeted by the Norwegian flag. From there it went from bad to worse. The weather deteriorated, storms raged, and Scott and the men who accompanied him on the last leg of the journey were unable to make it back. Their bodies weren't found for almost a year. It must have been bittersweet for the British welcoming the successful hero, Amundsen, when he toured Britain later in 1912. Item 3 is a Souvenir of Lecture: "How We Reached The South Pole." Amundsen went on a lecture tour in November-December 1912, with 26 stops in England and France in 31 days. Aquila remarks, "I think the trip to the South Pole was less arduous!" Item 3. Each item is priced in three currencies, Canadian, American and British. For convenience, we will show U.S. dollars. $680.

 

Here is the other side of that race, which is depicted on the cover of this catalogue. It says, Memorial Service St. Paul's Friday 14th Feb. at Noon. It was printed on February 12, 1913, two days before the service. It honored Robert Falcon Scott and his men. The poster shows footprints and sledge tracks in the snow. Here is how it relates. On the return trip, the men huddled in their tent, all hope lost, Lawrence Oats told the others "I am just going outside and may be some time." It was his message that he was going off to die. It is estimated that 10,000 people came to the service, most of whom had to remain outside. There was no room. Five hundred copies of this poster were printed, but it is such an ephemeral item that few survived. Aquila could locate only one other copy in a collection. Item 89. $10,000.

 

This one is an oddity. It is a newspaper of sorts, the Klondike Evening News, published in London, thousands of miles away in the days before air shipping. Evidently, it was not meant as a news source for Klondike miners, or anyone else. It was a humorous parody, apparently published in annual editions for 1898 and 1899, and then sporadically until 1909. Aquila has not been able to find any issues anywhere else, or anything else about the publication. The paper is a parody of the sort of events going on in the Klondike. Aquila writes, "It seems, to my taste at least, to have been brilliantly written, reflecting a great understanding of the events of the day and making reading the paper a great laugh!... If you start reading one issue we guarantee you will want to read them all cover to cover." Item 50 is the complete collection of issues, though single copy duplicates are also available. $2,000 for the collection.

 

A century earlier, British explorers had conclusively determined there was no Northwest Passage emanating from Hudson Bay. Arthur Dobbs was unconvinced. Based on ocean currents and such he was certain there was such an exit, so much so that he commissioned an exploration to prove his theory. He placed Christopher Middleton in charge of his mission. Middleton sailed to Hudson Bay and returned to England to inform Dobbs what earlier explorers reported - there is no route to a Northwest Passage from Hudson Bay. Dobbs was incensed. He wanted Middleton to tell him what he wanted to hear. Dobbs responded by attacking Middleton, initiating a pamphlet war that carried on for seven such publications. All are very rare today. Dobbs pulls no punches. The title says it all: Remarks upon Capt. Middleton's defence: wherein his conduct during his late voyage for discovering a passage from Hudson's Bay to the South-Sea is impartially examin'd; his neglects and omissions in that affair fully prov'd; the falsities and evasions in his defence expos'd; the errors of his charts laid open and his accounts of currents, streights, and rivers, confuted; whereby it will appear, with the highest probability, that there is such a passage as he went in search of. No there isn't. Middleton was right. Item 28, published in 1744. $24,000.

 

Middleton had his say too. Here is one of his pamphlets, also published in 1744: A vindication of the conduct of Captain Christopher Middleton, in a late voyage on board His Majesty's ship the Furnace, for discovering a north-west passage...in answers to certain objections and aspersions of Arthur Dobbs, Esq. These two apparently didn't care for each other too much. Still, Dobbs persisted, convinced that Middleton must be cooperating with the Hudson's Bay Company, which he believed was hiding the location of a northwest passage for its own competitive advantage. Item 71. $10,800.

 

Aquila Books may be reached at Box 75035, Cambrian Postal Outlet, Calgary, AB T2K 6J8, Canada.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>Aurora Australis.</i> Printed at the sign of 'The Penguins'; East Antarctica, 1908. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Shackleton, Ernest. <i>South Polar Times.</i> 1st edition, limited issue. from the library of Michael Barne. $20,000 to $30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> General Washington's <i>Proceedings of a General Court Martial... of Major General Lee.</i> Philiadelphia, 1778. 100 copies printed for Congress. BOUND WITH: ...Court Martial... of St Clair and ...Schuyler. $25,000 to $35,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>The Voice of the People.</i> Boston, 1754. Rare pamphlet on the Excise Tax. Nathaniel Sparhawk's copy. $4,000 to $6,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Autograph Letter Signed ("S.L. Clemens"), offering extensive hard-earned advice on writing, 5 pp, 1881. $30,000 to $50,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> After Fra Egnazio Danti. <i>L'Ultime Parti not:e nel Indie Occid:ntli" [The last known parts of the Western Indies].</i> Painted Map of California, Western Mexico, and Japan. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Ptolemaeus, Claudius. <i>Geographie opus nouissima...</i> 1513. The most important edition of Ptolemy, containing the Admiral's Map. $250,000 to $350,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> De Arellano, Don Alonso. Manuscript, his <i>"Relación mui singular y circunstanciada... Capitán del Patax San Lucas,"</i> manuscript copy from the Sir Thomas Phillips collection. $50,000 to $80,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Purchas, Samuel. <i>Purchas his Pilgrimes.</i> First edition. With John Simth's engraved map of Virginia. $70,000 to $100,000
    <b>Bonhams: Exploration and Travel, Featuring Americana, Part I. September 25, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> Lewis, Meriwether. Contemporary manuscript true copy of his final power of attorney, 1809. $8,000 to $12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>A New Method of Macarony Making, as Practiced at Boston in North America.</i> Mezzotint. London, 1774. $5,000 to $7,000
    <b>Bonhams, Sep. 25:</b> <i>Scientific Base Ball Pitching: A Treatise on the Pitcher, Pitching, Origin and Philosophy of the Curve.</i> Chicago, 1897. $2,000 to $3,000
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Franklin H. Brown, <i>State Sovereignty, National Union,</i> Chicago, 1860. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b><br>The Aitken Bible, Philadelphia, 1781. $20,000 to $30,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francisco Loubayssin de Lamarca, probable first edition of the first novel set in the Spanish New World, Paris, 1617. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Juan de la Anunciación, <i>Sermonario en lengua mexicana,</i> first edition, first book of sermons in Nahuatl, Mexico, 1577. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Maturino Gilberti, <i>Thesoro spiritual en lengua de Mechuacá,</i> first edition, Mexico, 1558. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Commission of William O. Stoddard as secretary to the president, signed by Lincoln, Washington, 1861. $7,000 to $10,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> <i>Clay and Frelinghuysen,</i> flag banner, circa 1844. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Daguerreotype of a man believed to be Frederick Granger Williams Smith, son of Joseph Smith, circa late 1850s. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> John C. Wolfe, <i>Portrait of Abraham Lincoln,</i> oil on board in period wooden frame, circa 1860s. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 27:</b> Family letters from two young daguerreotype artists, 1826-79. $10,000 to $15,000.

Review Search

Archived Reviews

Ask Questions